Mt. Cuba, Red Clay conservation, garden organizations to merge

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Mt. Cuba Center and Red Clay Reservation will merge organizations on January 1, 2018. The two organizations will continue this work as a unified Mt. Cuba Center and will have nearly 1,200 acres under their umbrella.

Red Clay Reservation was established in 1962 by Henry B. du Pont and Lammot du Pont Copeland to preserve open space at a time when urban and suburban sprawl was already evident.

Red Clay Reservation has done its own preservation and restoration projects and has a long-term programming partnership with the Delaware Nature Society.

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Mt. Cuba Center is a botanical garden and conservation organization incorporated in 1989 by Lammot du Pont Copeland and his wife Pamela.

Courtesy Mt. Cuba Center.

Life-long gardeners, the Copelands envisioned that the elegant gardens they cultivated on their estate since the 1930’s would someday inspire a community of conservation.

As Pamela Copeland noted, “I want this to be a place where people will learn to appreciate our native plants and to see how these plants can enrich their lives so that they, in turn, will become conservators of our natural habitats.”

Red Clay Reservation has 608 acres of natural lands in the rolling hills of northern Delaware.

Mt. Cuba Center comprises 583 acres adjacent to the Red Clay Reservation property. Together, the merged Mt. Cuba Center will manage 1,191 acres, with the goal of conserving diverse plant and wildlife habitats and biodiversity.

Management practices include water quality monitoring, reforestation, prescribed burns, and the creation, restoration and management of habitat for plants and wildlife.

“This merger brings together two organizations with a longstanding relationship and history of conservation in Delaware,” said Ann Rose, Mt. Cuba Center’s President. “With combined land holdings, Mt. Cuba Center and Red Clay Reservation have joined forces to develop more impactful and unified conservation of natural habitats in an increasingly settled region.” Mt. Cuba Center undertook a comprehensive master planning process in 2016. The process, which also considered Red Clay Reservation lands, affirmed the advantages of formally connecting the two properties. The master plan, which will be finalized in early 2018, envisions the future development of trails to facilitate visitor access to the natural lands of both properties. The plan also anticipates enhancing Mt. Cuba Center’s gardens, facilities, and infrastructure to accommodate growing audiences.

Guests to Mt. Cuba Center can explore historic formal gardens, naturalistic woodland gardens,ponds, and a native meadow garden. Access to the expanded natural lands will begin in spring 2018 through education programs and hay wagon tours.

More information on Mount Cuba is availale at mtcubacenter.org

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